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Dec 11, 2012 7:00 PM

Doh-bree Veh-Cherr with Tomáš Halík

The series of social evenings at the Czech Center continues! Doh-bree veh-cherr ("Good evening" in Czech) is a series of encounters with outstanding Czech and American professionals from the field of arts and culture. Join us for informal discussions on current cultural issues, new arts projects and other exciting happenings.

Meet professor Tomáš Halík 

Tomáš Halík

Graduated in sociology, philosophy and psychology from the Faculty of Philosophy of Charles University, Prague, Charles University (Ph.D. 1972). In 1984 he completed a post-graduate course in clinical psychology and became a licensed psychotherapeutical practitioner. He studied theology clandestinely in Prague and after 1989 undertook a course of post-graduate study at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome, obtaining a licentiate in theology (Th.Lic.). In autumn 1992 he took higher doctorates at Charles University in Prague (sociology) and at the Pontifical Theological Faculty in Wroclaw (ThDr. hab.).

During the Communist period, he was banned from university teaching and persecuted by the secret police as "an enemy of the regime". He worked as a psychotherapist for drug addicts.

Clandestinely ordained priest in Erfurt, in 1978, and worked in the “underground Church” where he was one of Cardinal Tomášek's closest associates. He was initiator of the ecumenical pastoral project "Decade of National Spiritual Renewal". He was actively involved in clandestine seminars in private homes, published in samizdat and helped publish illegal philosophical and theological books and journals. He closely co-operated with the future President, Václav Havel, with theologians Josef Zvěřina and Oto Mádr and other dissidents.

After the fall of Communism, he served as General Secretary to the Czech Conference of Bishops (1990-93) and lectured in pastoral psychology and sociology at the Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University. Since 1993 associate professor and since 1997 professor of sociology of Charles University, Prague (Department of the Religious studies, Faculty of Art), pastor of the Academic Parish, and President of the Czech Christian Academy (since 1990). Focus of academic work: philosophy of religion, inter-religious relations; the sociology of religion; the relationship between religion, politics and culture.

Since 1989, he has lectured at a number of universities and international scientific conferences in Europe (Rome, London, Cambridge, Vienna, Munich, Salzburg, Graz, San Sebastian, Palermo, Lublin, Paris, etc.), at ten universities in the USA, in India (Madras and Mumbai), Taiwan, Latin America (Chile and Argentina), Australia and Southern Africa. In the summer term of 1991 he was visiting lecturer at Salzburg University; in the summer term of 1999 he was visiting professor at the chair of International Political Studies at the University of Pittsburgh and in the spring term of 2000 at New York University in Prague. In the autumn term of 2001 he was visiting senior fellow at Oxford University and in autumn term of 2003 at Cambridge University. In 2001 he delivered the annual January lecture at Calvin College in Michigan, in 2005 the annual Von Huegel-Lecture at the University of Cambridge, and in 2009 the annual lecture at Harvard University.

He has over 200 publications to his credit, including full-length books, teaching texts, and articles both specialized and for the general reader, published at home and abroad. His books have been published in 9 languages.

Since the mid-nineties, he has been involved in international efforts to promote dialogue and understanding between religions and cultures, taking part in talks with Jewish thinkers in Israel and the USA, with Hindus in India and Great Britain, with Buddhists in Nepal, Japan and Thailand, with Muslims in Egypt (at Al Ajar university in Cairo), Jordan and Great Britain, etc. He is a member of the organizing committee of the Forum 2000 conference with particular responsibility for inter-religious relations and member of the board of honor of the Society of Christians and Jews. In 2003 he was Visiting Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations (CJCR) in Cambridge.

He received home and abroad several prizes for literature, for merits for intercultural and interreligious dialogue and for merits for human rights and spiritual freedom, including Cardinal König Prize (2003) and Romano Guardini Prize (2010).

Since 1989 he has participated actively in public life, maintaining a high media profile and being involved in civic initiatives. He has taken public stands against racial, national, religious and political intolerance and violence. He has actively promoted Czech-German reconciliation and the ecumenical reconciliation of the different churches, and has spoken out on issues of political and economic ethics. In the 1990s he served as one of President Václav Havel’s external advisers. In 1998 Václav Havel indicated in the Czech media that Tomas Halík is an eligible candidate for Havel's successor in the office of Czech President. However, Halík refused any active involvement in the politics and decided on continuing with his work as an academician, priest and writer. In 1998, he was appointed a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts.

Since 1999, he has been a frequent participant in international debates and panel discussions with European politicians regarding the widening of the European Union and on the cultural and spiritual aspects of the process of European integration (Berlin, Hanover, Passau, Lausanne, Paris, etc.) He has acted on several occasions as an expert at the European Parliament in Brussels and the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. In 2006 he was appointed a member of the European board of experts (Comité des sages) of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community (COMECE) in Brussels. He has been a member of the OSCE International Advisory Panel since 2002.

In 1992, Pope John Paul II appointed him advisor to the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers and in 2009, Pope Benedict XVI granted him the title of Monsignor - Honorary Prelate of His Holiness.



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Dec 11, 2012 7:00 PM


Czech Center

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